BILOXI - Dwight L. Harris, City of Holly Springs Police Chief, was re-elected to the Board of Directors during the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police at the Summer Educational Conference in Biloxi in June. Harris was nominated to serve on the Executive Board of the Association. On June 27, an election was held among the Chiefs of Police statewide and Chief Harris was one of two chiefs elected to serve as the executive board member representing the northern district of the State of Mississippi. Over 270 chiefs were in attendance this year.
It is the mission of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police to be a leader in promoting professionalism among all law enforcement officers of the State of Mississippi by encouraging quality education through proactive training and educational programs. They strive to endorse legislation which has positive effects on law enforcement’s ability to reduce crime and the fear of crime in the State of Mississippi (mschiefs.org).
Harris is a native of Benton County where he graduated from Ashland High School in 1988. He received a B.A. degree in English Liberal Arts from Rust College, and he is a graduate of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy in Pearl. He is an attendee of the Mississippi Command College as hosted by the F.B.I. and the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.
Growing up the son of a single mother of two in a little town with few opportunities at the time put the odds against Harris. But with a mother that instilled in Harris that he could be anything he wanted to be, he would triumph over those odds, and not only achieve educational success but many accomplishments in his law enforcement career. “I thank God for all the blessings that he has provided for me and also for giving me the mind to always be a positive person regardless of what my circumstances were. I learned that if you always stay positive, you will get positive results. And if you’re always negative, you will get negative results every time. It’s simply a choice,” explained Harris.
The encouragement of Marsel Harris Owen, Harris’ mother, and the support from a village of mentors abetted Harris to achieve and not give up on his dream of a career in law enforcement. “I grew up in a single parent household with my younger sister, Vonda, (of whom I was very protective). I watched my mother face many challenges as she raised the two of us. She always told us that we were going to be somebody one day, and we believed her simply because it came from her, and she was our mother. We loved and valued our mother’s guidance,” said Harris. “My role models while growing up were my principal, Mr. Walker Tucker, and my teacher, Mr. L. T. Hicks. Whenever I saw these two leaders, I always saw someone larger than life. I looked up to them, and I knew I wanted to be like them one day. They were both firm, and they told you the ugly truth about how life would be if you didn't take your education seriously. Since working in law enforcement, I have witnessed that ugly truth come to pass over and over again in the lives of so many people,” said Harris.
Harris expressed that his biggest challenge professionally is that he cares too much. “I actually have a genuine passion for the well-being of people and sometimes that can set you up for disappointments,” said Harris.
Harris stated the following is something that he lives by: “Dreams without goals will always be just dreams. We must have goals in our lives with an action plan to achieving those goals.” Harris stated that his current professional goals for the future are to strengthen his leadership skills and to influence others to be great. Harris voiced that he considers all people to have greatness within them and that they just have to make a choice to bring that greatness out.
Sergeant Dusty Smith, of Holly Springs Police Department, gives Harris credit for helping his dreams come true. “I have the utmost respect for Chief Harris. He gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream job. He took a chance on me when no other agency would. He is a family man and deep in his faith, a great Christian man. He runs the department with respect and professionalism, and he expects the same from his officers. He stands firm on protecting and serving the citizens of Holly Springs,” stated Smith.
Harris and his wife Charisse have five children – Zavion, Dwight Jr., Jasmine, Tyler and Joshua. His parents are Marsel Harris Owens and Daniel Owens. He enjoys singing, songwriting and working out in his free time. He is a member of Sand Hill M.B. Church in Lamar.
Chief Harris stated that he is honored and proud to represent the City of Holly Springs by serving in such a prestigious position and this is just the beginning because there is still a lot of work to do.